Technology in AFL
The world of sport is continually changing over the years, and the increasing use of technology is just one of those areas that has made an impact on many sports. The use of technology in Aussie Rules is increasing and has the potential to have a great impact on the sport.
Goal Line Technology
The other popular football code, soccer, has been toying with the concept of goal line technology for quite a while, but has been slow to implement it at the elite level. Whether a ball has crossed over a goal line in both codes can have a great impact on the result of a game, and spectators expect that the right decisions are being made. With so many cameras following the ball in AFL games, when a goal umpire makes a mistake, it is usually clear for all to see.
A video review system for goal umpires was trialled during the previous two NAB Cup competitions before being introduced for the start of the 2012 AFL season. The system provides an extra set of eyes with the score reviewer sitting in front of a television screen in the umpires box, who is able to adjudicate if called upon in consultation with the relevant goal, boundary and field umpire. A review can only be called by an umpire, not a player or coach as in some other sports. If the available vision still proves to be inconclusive, the decision will be referred back to the umpire on the field. One criticism of such systems is that it slows down the game. During the trials for the AFL, they found it took on average 49 seconds for a decision following a referral, which is not much to wait for the right decision.
Other uses of Technology
Technology has been well used in the area of fitness training and game analysis for many years. It is not uncommon for players to wear heart rate monitors in training and games to monitor their fitness and heart rate response to the game situation. The use of GPS is also widespread - players are wearing units which track their every move, which the coaching staff can later analyze.